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White People Are Very Confused By Pixar's New Animated Short 'Bao,' But Others Are Identifying Hard

(New Melody 2018/YouTube)

The animated Pixar shorts that precede the studio's latest feature-length films never fail to captivate audiences with their simplistic yet emotional storytelling in the absence of dialogue.

But their latest, titled Bao, is getting a little lost in translation.



Those who went to theaters for The Incredibles 2 were first treated to the very unusual but poignant short film set in Toronto, Canada's Chinese immigrant community. A woman receives a second chance at motherhood when a dumpling, also called a steamed bun or bao, comes to life.

But when the threat of suffering from empty nest syndrome looms (SPOILER ALERT)...

...the mother swallows the anthropomorphic dumpling.

Bao was Pixar's first short directed by a woman, Chinese-Canadian director Domee Shi, and while it resonated with the Asian community through its depiction of Chinese and Asian immigrant culture on the screen, some White audiences were confused or found it ridiculous.

While many Asian film-goers, and those who understood the meaning of Bao, described being moved to tears by Shi's short film, predominantly White audience members described a completely different reaction.




For the filmmaker, Domee Shi, the story is about the strained parental relationships that are all too familiar within her culture. She told My Statesman about the genesis for Bao.

My inspiration mainly came from my own life.

Growing up I was that overprotected little dumpling for my Chinese mom. I was an only child living in Toronto with my parents, and they've always kind of watched over me and made sure I was safe — kept me really, really close.

And I just wanted to explore that relationship between an overprotective parent and their child with a dumpling as a metaphor, as weird as that sounds.

But White audiences complained that they did not grasp the child-as-a-dumpling metaphor, when really, the relationship between food and family is a universal theme that should bridge cultural gaps.





Despite some widespread confusion, many viewers embraced Bao and found it to be an emotional experience.




The impact Bao had on Asian audiences in particular was significant.



This viewer perfectly summed up her take on the mixed reactions to Bao.


And this user brought up a good point, saying that the theme of a mother's love is always relevant, regardless of different cultures.


Bao is another worthy addition to the Pixar-verse that excels in conveying an abundance of emotions within a short time frame. And while maybe it didn't resonate with the majority, Bao is still worthy of a second helping.

With a renewed perspective, perhaps everyone who found the film's message confusing will find their hearts full too.

H/T - Buzzfeed, MyStateman, Twitter, YouTube